Rumors are swirling about a consolidation of some sort between Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Charter Communications, the three biggest cable providers in the country. Although this deal will undergo intense scrutiny by regulators, it is not clear what the impact on consumer cable bills might be. Although consolidation would seem to reduce the number of cable competitors, in effect, the various cable companies do not compete against each other, but instead against distributors using different technologies, e.g. satellite or fiber optic to the home. Despite the large number of customers a consolidated system would control, programmers would have the upper hand, as customers demand the popular network programming such as sports and network dramas.